Homework

At Eastcote we are keen to encourage children to enjoy learning and develop a commitment to it. We have long felt that homework does not contribute much to children’s learning and recent research backs this up, showing that the effectiveness of homework depends upon the reasons it is given, the nature of it and the age of the children involved. Surprisingly, there is evidence that for primary aged children some kinds of homework may actually be damaging to their education.

There are reasons suggested for this, the most persuasive of which are:

  • Being compelled to “do” homework fosters negative attitudes to learning.
  • Children need rest and relaxation.
  • Children benefit from learning in a variety of ways and “more of the same” simply doesn’t work.
  • Children of primary school age have not reached the stage of development required to focus on study in the home environment in which there are competing distractions.
  • Children of primary school age have not developed the necessary study skills.
  • Homework can be damaging to parent/child relationships.

Now there is good evidence that some activities pursued at home are beneficial, nothing more so than reading, which could potentially boost children’s educational progress significantly. So this is what we would like to encourage you to keep on doing (and all the following applies to all children at primary school):

  • Regularly read stories to your child
  • Listen to your child read
  • Talk to your child about what they are reading
  • Ask questions such as, “What do you think that means?”, “What do you think of that character?”, “Why do you think she did that?”, “What might happen next?”
  • Listen to stories together
  • Explore a range of texts together including non-fiction
  • Tell your child what you are reading and share bits with them (obviously suitable material)
  • Always have books around the home
  • All of this will help strengthen children’s fluency, develop their comprehension and foster a love of reading, hence we are giving this the highest priority.

Other things are worthwhile, particularly helping children learn their multiplication tables and spelling patterns and following up learning in school where a child’s interest has been sparked.

Beyond this we would recommend:

  • Everyday maths – i.e. through playing games, shopping, budgeting pocket money, cooking from recipes etc.
  • Worthwhile visits – museums, zoos and aquaria, planetarium, theatre, parks and open spaces etc.
  • Television – there are many suitable programmes to be found that could build on children’s interests.
  • Good use of the internet – children need to learn how to use it to find things out – doing this at home with a parent will reinforce the good teaching about internet use they get in school, including e-safety. We will continue to signpost you to sites via our website.

The policy we are planning to adopt, which we believe will be of great benefit to the children, will emphasise the importance of learning, and so we will call it “Home Learning” rather than homework.